15 Best Hidden Gems in Germany
Germany is absolutely rich in history and tradition. Some of the most amazing historical landmarks, beautiful natural landscapes, and global travel destinations in all of Europe are located in here.
You will want to make sure that you fill your travel itinerary with as many hidden gems in Germany as your schedule allows. Besides visiting Germany for all the well-known things is it famous for.
You will want to be sure that you zero in on the 15 destinations I highlight below.
Some of them harken back to the earliest days of German history. While others celebrate the ingenuity and engineering of this great nation.
Others still serve as stark reminders to a past that cannot and should not ever be forgotten.
These are the kinds of destinations you’ll want to circle on any map of Germany when you are going to be visiting for any longer than a day or two.
Let’s jump right in!
- 1. Wernigerode Castle
- 2. Lake Königssee
- 3. Lichtenstein Castle
- 4. Eltz Castle
- 5. Rakotzbrücke Devil’s Bridge
- 6. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- 7. Basteibrücke
- 9. Rakotzbrücke
- 10. Regensburg
- 11. Blautopf in Blaubeuren
- 12. Geierlay Suspension Bridge
- 13. Pilgrimage Church Maria Gern
- 14. Kamnitz Gorge
- 15. Dachau Concentration Camp
1. Wernigerode Castle
One of the most beautiful castles in all of Germany.
This particular historical location was completely overhauled and renovated 19th century – giving it a bit of a more modern aesthetic while still maintaining its much earlier overall appearance and “bones”.
This is a popular hotspot for German citizens to visit, but not so popular with tourists.
German’s love this spot. Particularly those that are interested in the medieval history of their nation.
However, more and more tourists are getting turned down to this hidden gem in Germany every year.
The attached museum and daily tours are definitely well worth checking out as well as the gorgeous landscaping and gardens that surround this castle.
You can spend a day or two exploring everything that this gem has to offer without still seeing everything it has to offer.
2. Lake Königssee
The deepest and cleanest lake you’ll find in all of Germany, maybe even Europe.
People from all over Europe – and from all over the world, really – have been flocking to this lake for centuries to soak up all of the natural beauty that it has on full display.
An absolutely crystal-clear alpine lake that sits just inside the local national park.
It’s hard not to get swept up in the natural splendor of this gorgeous piece of German landscape.
Plenty of outdoor activities are available to take advantage of when you are in the area.
It is also not a bad idea to visit the Saint Bartholomew church originally built back in the 12th-century (later remodeled in the 16th century) if you have the inclination.
A quick ride can take you to a smaller lake in the region (the Obersee).
That is a trip well worth investigating as you’ll be able to see one of the most gorgeous and picturesque views in all of Germany.
Full with tall mountains, unlimited forests, and a gorgeous waterfall all reflected in the lake water.
|Pro Tip: Be sure to book your Eurail before heading to Germany. The quickest, cheapest and easiest way to get around Europe.|
3. Lichtenstein Castle
The Lichtenstein Castle is one of the most frequently photographed castles on the planet.
One that has been used as a reference for Hollywood movies, video games, and more due to its very unique aesthetic.
A perfect example of the Gothic revival style of architecture.
So popular with German castles built around this time.
The castle was heavily inspired by the novel Lichtenstein (published back in 1826).
Interestingly enough, the site of this privately owned castle actually sits just a few hundred meters away from the original Lichtenstein castle that featured heavily in that same novel.
The castle is so famous internationally that it’s actually been “copied” around the world, including throughout Europe, and South Africa, and in parts of Russia as well.
If you’d like to see the original to take advantage of the tours that are available of the property most days throughout the year.
Definitely plan ahead, though, as you won’t want to miss out on your opportunity to see this castle in person.
4. Eltz Castle
This medieval castle is situated in the hills that sits just above the Moselle River.
It happens to be one of the few castles in Germany that are still owned by the original family that first built the castle all the way back in the 12th century.
For over 33 generations the Eltz family has maintained ownership over this castle.
Only recently has it been opened up to the public for tours. For those outside the family to see this medieval structure in all its glory.
One of only two medieval castles still left standing on the banks of the Rhine.
It does take a little bit of time to reach this castle when traveling by car or train.
However, the tour and the experience is well worth it.
Visitors will be able to explore the castle between April and October of each year.
Having the chance to see the castle treasury filled to the brim with gold, silver, and ancient artifacts as well as weapons of war and armor that have survived since medieval times.
5. Rakotzbrücke Devil’s Bridge
Another of the most frequently photographed architectural wonders in all of Germany. This special bridge was built back in the 1860s – commissioned by a night living within the town.
To create a structure that looks like a perfect circle when the bridge was reflected in the water below.
The name “Devil’s Bridge” was attached to this structure because of the portal it creates with this reflection.
Local people at the time felt that anything this miraculous would have to have been the work of Satan.
The national park that this bridge resides within is worth checking out, too.
You’ll want to try and schedule your visit when the foliage is in full bloom to get the full effect of this amazing piece of natural architecture.
This is truly one of the best hidden gems in Germany.
6. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Located in the Franconia part of Bavaria in Germany.
People from all over the world flock to this town because of its unique history as well as the fact that is one of the best-preserved medieval “old towns” in the entirety of Europe.
A very popular part of the “Romantic Road” that takes people throughout southern Germany to visit medieval destinations.
You’ll feel as though you have been transported back in time.
The moment that you walk the cobblestones of this town, engage with the restaurants and shops, and soak up all the local history.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is not only a hidden gem but a bucket list location in Germany.
An incredibly famous and internationally renowned natural rock formation that sits between the borders of Germany and Switzerland.
The man-made bridge that has been carved into this unique rock structure is both a modern marvel as well as a natural.
The combination this perfect you’ll have a tough time finding elsewhere.
A visit here gives you a fantastic view of the River Elbe.
Stunning views of the Lilienstein mountain range, and a chance to visit the Koenigstein fortress all of which are in the immediate surrounding area.
8. Burg Frankenstein
Commonly referred to as Frankenstein Castle, this castle (originally built back in 1673) is one of the oldest and most historic castles in all of Germany.
Not just because it is widely considered to be the main inspiration for the Frankenstein novel written by Mary Shelley.
History does tell us that an eccentric alchemist lived in this castle, experimented on cadavers, and was described by many in the local community as a “mad scientist” at the time.
Today much of the castle has weathered away to the point where much of it is only ruins. With just two main towers, a restaurant, and that each main chapel remaining and able to be explored by visitors.
Even still, it’s well worth checking out yourself.
The national park home to the famous Devil’s Bridge we made mention of a little bit earlier.
This is a 200-acre park that feature some of the most gorgeous natural landscape you’ll see anywhere in all of Germany.
The park itself was originally organized back in the 19th century as an oversized (and that’s the understatement of the century) English style landscape garden.
It’s been able to flourish with careful attention ever since.
A number of walking paths, hiking trails, small ponds and small lakes can be explored when you have a chance to visit.
Set aside a couple of days to soak in everything that this park has to offer.
Located in the Bavarian city of the same name in the southeastern area of Germany.
This almost perfectly preserved medieval town is situated upon the Danube River and is another essential stop on the “Romantic Road” that tourists take to see medieval Germany up close and personal for themselves.
A 12th-century bridge – the Stone Bridge – is the central focal point of this community. The stone bridge is what makes this town and why it is one of the best hidden gems in Germany.
Measuring 310 m long with 16 individual arches and a number of spires that make it instantly recognizable.
Be sure to visit a Parthenon replica that sits just east of the city limits, a landmark that celebrates some of the most impactful and influential Germans throughout this nation’s history.
11. Blautopf in Blaubeuren
A series of underground caves that have been worn into the earth over millennia.
Hidden inside of this natural landmark is a spring that serves as the original source of the river Blau – one of the most influential and important rivers in all of southern Germany.
The cave system is something that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. Not only is it expansive and almost unbelievably complex.
It is also home to crystal-clear, beautifully bright water made even bluer and greener because of unique limestone deposits that sit just beneath the surface.
Be sure to bring your camera when you visit this destination.
You’ll want to capture as many pictures and videos as possible as friends back home might not believe what you are describing to them. Which is why it makes it one of the best hidden gems in Germany.
12. Geierlay Suspension Bridge
With a total length of 1181 feet (360 m) and sitting 100 m above the ground. This pedestrian-only bridge gives visitors to the region in the opportunity to travel between Morsdorf and Sosber.
The two villages that are connected with this suspension style bridge.
Regularly making the top 100 sightseeing destinations in Germany lists each and every year.
This bridge was first opened up to the general public back in 2015 and quickly became a national hotspot for tourism.
Believe it or not, 20% of all visitors to the region absolutely refused to cross the bridge.
Plenty of people in both of the villages at either end of the bridge have refused to do the same, too.
If you don’t mind heights this should definitely be on your list of amazing hidden gems in Germany.
However, if you do have trouble with heights, this is probably not for you.
13. Pilgrimage Church Maria Gern
Located in the Bavarian Alps. This incredible church is tucked away close to the border of Austria (about 180 km southeast of Munich).
You’ll definitely want to take a day trip out to this national park to soak up all of the splendor and beauty of this region.
Make sure that this church specifically gets at least a couple of hours of your undivided attention for sure.
The church itself is spectacular with a very “old world German” kind of feel.
The landscape surrounding this area is something you won’t find literally anywhere else on the planet.
Venture out into the nearby community to see the salt mines, a couple of restaurants, and a few small shops.
However, don’t be surprised if you find yourself continuing to come back to this church again and again just to soak up all it has to offer.
14. Kamnitz Gorge
Often referred to as the “Wild Gorge”, if you enjoy getting outdoors as much as I do, you have to add this to your list.
Germany is a great place for hiking, walking, climbing, and exploring the outdoors. It is not just castles, beers and Oktoberfest.
The rocky landscape crops up from the river Kamnitz that flows between these gorgeous. It is full of hundreds of trails, bridges, paths, and climbing opportunities for adventurous visitors to explore at their leisure.
There’s also plenty of amenities. Including hotel accommodations and restaurants.
In the immediate vicinity, meaning you’ll get the best of all worlds when you want to make this the central focus of your German vacation.
15. Dachau Concentration Camp
Closing out our list of true hidden gems in Germany. Is a destination that belongs on every single itinerary, not because you’ll have a lot of fun visiting this spot.
The odds are very good you wouldn’t ever describe your visit to Dachau as something “fun”.
However, the historic importance as the site of some of the evilest and heinous crimes ever committed in the history of humanity.
Established by the Nazis in March 1933, Dachau was built on top of an old munitions factory about 10 miles northwest of Munich in the southern part of Germany.
Growing exponentially in the lead up to and throughout World War II.
If you want to learn about one of the darkest moments in human history. And how important it is to make sure that something like this never happens again.
You’ll want to spend an afternoon at Dachau.
I hope you enjoyed this article on the best hidden gems in Germany.